Ontology, Set Theory, and the Paraphrase Challenge

Journal of Philosophical Logic 50 (6):1231-1248 (2021)
  Copy   BIBTEX


In many ontological debates there is a familiar challenge. Consider a debate over X s. The “small” or anti-X side tries to show that they can paraphrase the pro-X or “big” side’s claims without any loss of expressive power. Typically though, when the big side adds whatever resources the small side used in their paraphrase, the symmetry breaks down. The big side plus small’s resources is a more expressively powerful and thus more theoretically fruitful theory. In this paper, I show that there is a very general solution to this problem, for the small side. Assuming the resources of set theory, small can successfully paraphrase big. This result depends on a theorem about models of set theory with urelements. After proving this theorem, I discuss some of its philosophical ramifications.



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 91,219

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Paraphrase, Semantics, and Ontology.John A. Keller - 2015 - Oxford Studies in Metaphysics 9.
Paraphrase and the Symmetry Objection.John A. Keller - 2017 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 95 (2):365-378.
The Paraphrase Argument Against Collective Actions.Johannes Himmelreich - 2017 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 95 (1):81-95.
Paraphrase Strategies in Metaphysics.Tatjana von Solodkoff - 2014 - Philosophy Compass 9 (8):570-582.
The inconspicuous role of paraphrase.David Sherry - 1991 - History and Philosophy of Logic 12 (2):151-166.
Why paraphrase nihilism fails.Shane Maxwell Wilkins - 2016 - Synthese 193 (8):2619--2632.
Ontological Commitment and Paraphrase.Frank Jackson - 1980 - Philosophy 55 (213):303-315.
Parts as counterparts.Aaron Cotnoir - 2013 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 2 (3):228-241.
Métaphore et paraphrase.Palle Leth - 2007 - Archives de Philosophie 4 (4):579-598.
Ontology and Metaontology: A Contemporary Guide.Francesco Berto & Matteo Plebani - 2015 - New York: Bloomsbury Academic. Edited by Matteo Plebani.
Does ontology exist?Hans-Johann Glock - 2002 - Philosophy 77 (2):235-260.
Problems of paraphrase: Bottom’s dream.David Hills - 2007 - The Baltic International Yearbook of Cognition, Logic and Communication 3.


Added to PP

210 (#91,666)

6 months
20 (#121,393)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Jared Warren
Stanford University

Citations of this work

No citations found.

Add more citations

References found in this work

Material beings.Peter Van Inwagen - 1990 - Ithaca: Cornell University Press.
Parts of Classes.David K. Lewis - 1991 - Mind 100 (3):394-397.
Material Beings.Peter Van Inwagen - 1990 - Philosophy 67 (259):126-127.

View all 31 references / Add more references